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Kaufman  (Level: 253.9 - Posts: 3936)
Wed, 25th Jun '08 11:23 AM


Having grown up in southwestern Connecticut, I made dozens of visits to the New York ballparks. But understandably, those visits became far less frequent after I moved away from the area in the 80s. I probably last had seen a game at Shea 15 years ago, and in the Bronx 20 years ago. So with both ballyards closing this year, and with several companions who had never seen a game at one or both of those stadiums, it was time to set up a trip and visit both of them one last time on consecutive days.

First up, Sunday's game between the Reds and the Yankees. To outsiders, Yankee Stadium may be thought of as a fearsome place, home to loud, drunken fans. Frankly, I think Yankee fans are worse on the road. Here in their own crib, there's no insecurity. In our section there was fun, good-natured banter with a very loud Reds fan (who's probably better off doing his schtick in NYC, rather than Cincy). Ken Griffey, Jr. was cheered every time he came up (as well as when his 601st homer barely cleared the wall). Jay Bruce drew a lot of noise, but since I can't imagine why New Yorkers would hate him, I think they just liked calling him BROOOOOOOOOCE.

And really, it's so nice to be at games with such knowledgeable crowds (at both venues). No need for a PA announcer to raise his voice and tell people when to cheer. Hooray, Bob Sheppard! There was some stupid crap in New York (dance cams, find the ball under the cap gsme), but much less than here in DC.

The Stadium itself is in good shape. There really is no reason (other than greed) to replace it. Sure the passages are narrow and it's not very luxurious, but the 1970s renovation left it with a most acceptable degree of comfort. And it really has that feeling you only get at a few places (such as Wrigley, and no doubt Fenway) that you are truly in a Temple.

As for the game, it was full of drama, plus a violent storm and rain delay. I don't think I'd ever seen a batter called out for running into his own bunt before. The result, interestingly enough, was a 4-1 victory for New York -- intersting in that in the very first game I'd seen there nearly 41 years prior, the Yankees also beat a team from Ohio 4-1. That game also featured a home run from a history-making ballplayer, even if Joe Pepitone's claim to fame was using a hair dryer in the locker room.

The thing that shocks you about the new Stadium they're building is that on the outside it looks like a virtual carbon copy of the current version. Driving up, we almost thought we were seeing double! Hopefully, the inside will maintain what it can of the old as well, though I would love a return to the pre-1973 dimensions!

Conversely, Shea Stadium and its successor Citi Field will never be mistaken for one another. Shea was one of the first big round space-age multipurpose parks the 60s spawned, while Citi has that same retro brick exterior you'll find at, say, Camden Yards, and a very angular profile.

The last time I'd visited Shea, it seemed very old, obsolete, and falling apart. Not so this time. Either they've spruced it up, or maybe my two years at RFK helped to make it look good in comparison. We had fairly lousy seats, far back in the lower level, so the overhang of the next deck obstructed our view, but our height above field level meant that we'd only lose high flies and a good chunk of the scoreboard.

It wasn't a full house, but a very good crowd for a Monday night. The prevailing attitude was impatient. These fans expect a lot from their Mets, who have not been delivering. Several players got booed every time they failed to come through. The game itself was a rather lackluster 5-1 Mariner victory, highlighted only by the performance of Felix Hernandez, who was outstanding on the mound, but failed to get the win when he tried to make a play at the plate on a wild pitch and was spiked sufficiently that he couldn't pitch the last out of the fifth inning. Oh yeah, did I mention that he also hit the first pitch from Johan Santana 370 feet over the right field wall? With the bases loaded? The first grand slam for an AL pitcher since 1971? Baseball is great. You never know what you will see!

No symmetry here. My first game at Shea was Tom Seaver's Imperfect Game against the Cubs. Oh well!

Bottom line: Get to New York this year if you have the chance. Because next year they'll be somewhere else.

Illiniamy  (Level: 105.4 - Posts: 67)
Thu, 26th Jun '08 10:29 PM


Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Tresgatos  (Level: 201.7 - Posts: 4145)
Sun, 29th Jun '08 3:19 AM

Thanks for those great stories, Ken! Since I live in the Delaware Valley, I should try to make of point of getting to both Shea and Yankee Stadium. It's been quite awhile since I've been to a game. Pedro Martinez of the Mets is one of my all-time favorite pitchers, but it's been sad watching his injuries turn him into a shadow of his former dominating self. The Padres are my hometown team, but boy are they having a dismal year! But in terms of ballparks, Petco Park is terrific, if any of you are ever in San Diego.

-- Geri

Poleparrot  (Level: 44.4 - Posts: 7)
Wed, 12th Nov '08 5:46 PM

Hello baseball lovers. I am from the UK, got interested in baseball when I went to California a few years ago (as there was no "proper" sport on TV I made my second visit to the US this September so decided to go to a game in New York. I too went to one of the last games at the Shea stadium to see the Mets play the Nationals. It was great, a lot more exciting than I thought it would be & had a great seat with a good view. Pity they didn't make the play-offs.
Luckily, now I have a subscription to Setanta for the football I also get the NASN channel.
I understand the basics of the game but when watching on TV I'm afraid all the jargon just passes me by.
How can I find out what the commentators are on about?

Illiniamy  (Level: 105.4 - Posts: 67)
Fri, 14th Nov '08 11:33 PM


So glad you were able to enjoy one of our favorite pastimes. I'm not the best person for advice on football. Sorry.

Poleparrot  (Level: 44.4 - Posts: 7)
Thu, 20th Nov '08 5:15 PM

Sorry, I meant information on baseball jargon.

Any help would be gratefully received. When does the season start again anyway?

Illiniamy  (Level: 105.4 - Posts: 67)
Sun, 30th Nov '08 9:36 PM

Season starts up in April (a bit late next year, due to the World Baseball Classic). Spring training is in February & March though and is fun as well.

Baseball Jargon...well, why don't you give me a list of terms and I'll help you out with 'em?

Poleparrot  (Level: 44.4 - Posts: 7)
Fri, 19th Dec '08 5:55 PM

Great, thanks, will do when it starts again!

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